Talk: Zapatistas Living at the Edge of Capitalism

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Event Category: Presentations/Discussions

  • Monday, May 10, 2021
    1:00pm CDT – 2:00pm EDT

    Andrej Grubacic & Denis O’Hearn

    Indigenous people in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas have been constructing a remarkable community under the banner of 20th century revolutionary hero Emiliano Zapata. The Zapatists have exited from the state to constitute autonomous self-governing communities. To a large extent they have also left the capitalist market economy of the larger society. This is what anthropologist Andrej Grubacic and sociologist Denis O’Hearncall exilic communities, that is, communities in exile. They have voluntarily left the bad government of the state (mal gobierno) to build a democratic good government. And they have left the competitive, individualistic economy to build a cooperative community based on solidarity and mutual aid. This has required a turning inward like the shell of a snail. That’s why their liberated spaces are called caracoles.

    The Zapatistas’ defiance of both state and capitalism has won the admiration of progressives worldwide. Anarchists and Marxists alike have seen this withdrawal from the “modern” world as a realization of their highest aspirations. Similarly the political elite and ruling classes of Mexico have seen it as a threat to their dominance.

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